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Morgan Page Talks Armada, “The Longest Road,” Alessia Cara, MMW & More [Interview]

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We’ve been following Morgan Page since before “The Longest Road” days, and watching his musical journey has been strangely satisfying. A sense of gratification felt in a sense, for somebody who warrants all of the success he’s earned coupled with a career filled with longevity. We sat down with the electronic music veteran during this year’s Miami Music Week to discuss his musical journey. 

The latest chapter in Morgan Page’s musical career lands him at Armada Music, one of the industry’s leading independent labels. The event was Armada Invites, where Morgan was joined alongside some of the other Armada elite, including Gareth Emery, Lost Frequencies, Sultan + Shepard, Zack Martino, and GoldFish, among others. Recollecting on a simpler time for dance music and Winter Music Conferences of the past, Morgan has experienced the many faces of WMC/Miami Music Week’s over the years, and we had a chance to dissect some of the biggest differences and what’s remained the same. 

Responsible for some of the biggest and most memorable dance music anthems in existence, Morgan Page was the driving force behind “The Longest Road” feat. Lissie. “The Longest Road”, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2018, saw remixes from Vicetone, Ruben de Ronde, Steff Da Camos, and one of the very first remixes done by a very fresh talent at the time — deadmau5.

Morgan Page’s discography reads like a book, filled with a slew of notable remixes, studio albums Elevate, Believe, and In The Air, and originals such as “Body Work,” “Strange Condition,” “In The Air” with Sultan + Shepard, BT feat. Angela McCluskey, “Candles,” and many, many more. Over this last year, Morgan has released tracks on Armada such as “Gone My Way” feat. Pex L, “Collusion” with Swanky Tunes, and “Let You Go.” 

Recent remixes for top pop acts like Alessia Cara, Clean Bandit with Ellie Goulding, and Ava Max, along with consistently pumping out quality originals Morgan Page has never been more masterful of his craft, sustaining what seems to be a decade-plus-long creative peak. One of the industry’s most humble and genuine individuals, Morgan Page also offers quick tips (guidance and advice) for those aspiring to break into the industry and up-and-coming talent.

We had the privilege of sitting down with Morgan Page to more deeply divulge into his mentoring, how he finds new music in an over-saturated market, the evolution of MMW & WMC, his new remix(es), and what’s to come in the near (and distant) future. 

The Nocturnal Times: We’re back in Miami for another Miami Music Week. What do you look forward to the most about this week specifically every year? 

Morgan Page: I think it’s actually the random encounters. Also meeting my favorite producers that I don’t get to see all year unless I’m playing the same festival as one of them or I get to see them in passing. When I come here I get to hear the sets, I get to hear what people are playing, how they’re transitioning, and I get to see some of the people I really like, look up to, and admire. 

The Nocturnal Times: You’re about to take the stage soon here at Armada Invites (at the National Hotel). What can you tell us about the set you’ve got planned for today and today’s event? 

Morgan Page: It’s an amazing party and I think the weather is really cooperating with us today. Armada has always been a big champion regarding my music and they’ve been a great platform for me. [Armada] is one of the biggest and most successful independent dance labels in the world so, it’s been great to be part of their roster. The lineup for today [Armada Invites] is insane, too! There’s Sultan + Shepard, Lost Frequencies, Zack Martino, Goldfish, Arty, myself. So, it’s sort of an all-star list of artists playing today — and it’s good, it’s a nice new home to have. I’m gonna play some big room, progressive, and even some bits of bass sprinkled in there. That’s really what I do and I’m looking forward to it. 

The Nocturnal Times: How about on a personal level. Are there any things you look forward to most about having the chance to come back Miami (parties, foods, spots to check out, etc.)? 

Morgan Page: I always do a beach run. I try to run off some of the alcohol calories by just doing a run on the beach. I get to see what’s new in Miami and it’s interesting because every year it’s different. Hopefully it’s not all underwater in 10 years… It’s actually interesting too, I noticed, sort of unrelated, but some of the hotels along the strip seem sort of abandoned or are being renovated. 

The Nocturnal Times: You’ve been doing WMC/MMW for many years now. What would you say are some of the biggest differences between the original times of Music Week versus today? 

Morgan Page: We were actually just talking about this today. There’s definitely a change in the scene. There’s a whole new set of artists, agents, and managers. Younger talent has really rotated in and it’s just really great to see. It’s also changed because Miami started out with one pool party in 1985, which I wasn’t old enough to go, but it’s changed a lot. It’s always been a networking event, but I think it’s harder to throw your own party because the scene started becoming really oversaturated, especially over the last five years. Now, it’s become more about having the right platform, like Armada, a label showcase with focus on me, but it’s still super important. It is different though, because I remember “The Longest Road” broke in South Beach and I would walk into one club and they’d be playing it, and then another club down the strip was playing the Deadmau5 remix, and you’d heard it echoing outside the clubs. That was actually a really crazy moment, but it just doesn’t really work like that anymore. 

The Nocturnal Times: Would you say something like that was your first “holy shit” moment? 

Morgan Page: Totally, yes! And that to me was almost like my initiation or admission: Now you many become a DJ. 

The Nocturnal Times: Was it DJing for you first, or was it producing? 

Morgan Page: I actually did it backwards. I started out doing college radio and that I was producing, even though I was producing a little bit before that. I didn’t start DJing right away though, it was radio, then producing, then it became a DJ residency. 

The Nocturnal Times: Let’s talk about some new music. You just released “Gone My Way”. How did this production come together and how would you say it’s being received so far? 

Morgan Page: It was a really fun one. It was sort of a random encounter, actually. A producer named Pex L, from the Canary Islands in Spain, played me some music. He had some really great tracks that stood out to me, which I ended up putting on my radio show on SiriusXM. So, I thought to myself: “who is this guy?” We were talking and he told me that he had a track in progress and it turned into a true collaboration: 50/50. He sent me the stems, I added a bunch of new chords, tweaked the vocal, switched some different stuff up in the drop. What I love is that you can’t tell who is doing what in the track. It also really marries these different areas of dance music, there’s some old school drum fills in there, there’s some progressive house. The vocal is very simple and isn’t even really a full vocal, it’s more like a sample. It’s a little bit of old-school complexities with future house and progressive house.

The Nocturnal Times: How long did this one take for you to create?

Morgan Page: It actually was done really fast. I think we finished this one in a few weeks. Usually things like this will take me months, but this was really fast and so natural. 

The Nocturnal Times: Out of all your productions, which was the most difficult for you to create or almost didn’t even happen at all? 

Morgan Page: This is a really good question. “The Longest Road” was one of those, appropriately. Because the way I work with vocalists, especially back in the day, was I’d loop the instrumental track like 3-4 times. Then, I would go get coffee and the vocalist would perform consciousness singing, which is the biggest nightmare for editing. Because with that, you sometimes don’t know what’s what. You don’t know what’s chorus, verse, pre-chorus. So, this process creates a lot of work, but the vocalist is usually happy because they just leave hoping they did the best they could. Creating hooks out of just the vowels, like taking all the o’s and e’s, and chop them up and make them into leads. You have to find the hook; you have to find the needle in the haystack sometimes with vocals. So, [“The Longest Road”] was hard, and so was a remix we did for Imogen Heap, “Hide & Seek.” The thing about the “Hide & Seek” remix, which was a bootleg mix, was that she didn’t sing on the grid, so that became really challenging. But, you’ve gotta just finish it. To have put in all of that work and then not follow through, it defeats the whole point. 

The Nocturnal Times: You briefly touched on your radio show earlier. With the scene so overly saturated and thousands of releases per week, how do you go about sorting through music these days? 

Morgan Page: It’s good because my whole team helps me filter everything down and then when we get it down to about 30-40 songs, I’ll then narrow it down to 20 for the radio show. It’s a lot of stuff that comes in, but then again, a lot of it comes from the usual suspects like the Armada tracks, Spinnin’, etc. But, we do get a lot of up-and-coming remixers, which is actually how I find guys to remix my stuff. I think that’s a big part of it, staying up to date on the emerging names and seeing what’s out there. I think it’s funny: When I look back on almost sort of “discovering” Deadmau5, before he was famous. I didn’t “discover” him, but I mean “discovering” his music before he was famous. I remember I approached him and didn’t even have the mau5 head yet, and I just remember thinking, “this guy is gonna be huge.” 

The Nocturnal Times: What can you share with fans about what you have coming up as far as new music?  

Morgan Page: Lots of new singles. We just did a ton of new remixes as well. I did a remix for Ava Max, Clean Bandit & Ellie Goulding, which just came out. I also have a remix I did for Alessia Cara, which is coming out soon. [The Alessia Cara] one I’ll definitely be playing today for the first time. “Gone My Way” is the current single, but we’ve got tons of new singles coming up. Definitely expect a fun summer single, more vocals, and more full vocal tracks. We like to have a mix of remixes, club bangers, and vocals.

The Nocturnal Times: At this stage in your career, who would you say are some of your dream vocal collaborations? 

Morgan Page: Ellie Goulding has always been on my list, she’s pretty, pretty high up there. Any voice that’s like Adele, that has that grit, I really, really like. It’s funny because we reached to Adele, way back in the day, but she was pregnant, and they actually got back to us. We were so flattered! But she was like, “I’m a little bit busy having a baby, but thanks for reaching out.” That’s another thing I love about this business, is that you never know who’s a mutual fan. To find out someone is a mutual fan of yours, and then it can turn into a collaboration or something like that. 

The Nocturnal Times: You offer aspiring DJs Quick Tips. Since this isn’t something you tend to really advertise, what can you tell us about that? 

Morgan Page: http://www.mpquicktips.com offers users with 6-7 years of experience that I’ve gathered up in music that I’ve found helpful to me. I don’t tend to really advertise it much, it’s kind of like a secret knowledge base. I’m expanding that a little more and we’re actually going to be making a physical version of that. Right now I’m doing five tips a day on Twitter and there’s deep dive blog posts, but it’s just a labor of love and something fun that I do — I like to give back to the [music] community. I think it’s almost like a gift that I would give to my 12-year-old self because I would have killed to have that at that age when I first started making music.

 

The Nocturnal Times: Let’s look towards the future a bit. Where do you see yourself or hope to be five years from now? 

Morgan Page: Wow, in five years. I’d like to still be doing the same things like playing festivals, club shows, and I’d like to start expanding my shows. Bringing more visuals and more technology to my shows, and I’d love to bring back the 3-D too, which is super expensive. I think the biggest thing is to keep making music that resonates with people — that’s the most important thing. The rest of it is all just secondary. 

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